Beauty Pie – can you ditch the high-end products for cut-price alternatives?

Beauty Pie – can you ditch the high-end products for cut-price alternatives?

Premium brands such as Mac, Charlotte Tilbury, Estée Lauder, etc are popular among beauty fans, but often come at a price. Beauty Pie is a luxury beauty ‘buyer's club’ that claims to keep quality high and costs low by selling products straight from the lab. But can having a slice of the pie, slice the price on your premium makeup & skincare buying habits?

Beauty Pie* claims it formulates its products using the same, or similar, ingredients as those found in luxury make-up and skincare items. With a monthly membership you can buy these items at cheaper prices, meaning in theory you can get high-end quality for a lower price, typically saving about 70%.

If you’re thinking of signing up and tasting a piece of pie, we've a code to get your first month 'free'. Meanwhile, here's a full breakdown of how it works. 

Step 1: Sign up & choose your monthly membership 

To qualify for cheaper prices, you need to sign up for a monthly membership – how much you can then buy depends on your membership level. You can choose a £5, £10 or £20 monthly membership, and the option you choose determines how much you can buy based on typical equivalent premium brand RRP price, which Beauty Pie calls a 'spending limit'. The £5 option gives you a £50 'spending limit', the £10 gives you £100 etc. Your monthly membership fee is just for your subscription, it won't come off your basket value. 

How does it work?

It's easiest to explain by using an example – a face mask with a ‘typical price’ of £50 costs £15.91 to buy with a membership, but uses £50 of your spending limit. So if you had the £5/mth membership, that would use up your whole 'spending limit' for the month and that's all you can buy. 

Important: All memberships must run for a minimum of three months, so take this into consideration before signing up. Remember to only choose a membership you can afford and not to overspend – it’s not a saving if you weren’t going to buy these products anyway. See full membership and pricing details below. 

  • Monthly membership fee 'Spending limit' you get each month
    £5 £50
    £10 £100
    £20 £200

    What if I don't use my monthly spending limit?

    Any amount you don't use in a month will rollover to the next and builds up in a 'pot', meaning you can buy more next time, if you choose. Eg, my £5/mth membership gives me a £50 ‘spending limit’ but if I don’t use it that month, I then have £100 in my ‘spending limit’ the following month. You pay your fee each month, regardless of whether or not you buy anything.

    Here’s a screenshot of a recent order MSE Laura B did, to help put it into context:

Step 2: Buy your products

While the items at Beauty Pie aren’t identical to certain branded items, and we can’t vouch that one product mimics another, Beauty Pie says they can come from the same labs and may contain many of the same, or similar, ingredients. The fragrance, colour, consistency, packaging etc may be slightly different, but the quality, coverage, pigmentation, longevity, and results can be very similar.

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While items may be similar to what you already use, remember to always check the ingredients if you have any allergies or skin concerns.

Here are a list of products that I've seen many Beauty Pie fans across its online community, beauty blogger articles and the YouTube world make comparisons to: 

Beauty Pie products vs similar premium brand item

Beauty Pie product and member price What it's been compared to and cheapest price I found
'The Unbeatable' concealer (4.2g)* – £5.17 (£20 typical price) Benefit 'Boi-ing' concealer (3g) – £16.56 at John Lewis
'Wondergel' all day stayliner gel (4g)* - £5.82 (£15 typical price)   Bobbi Brown long-wear gel eyeliner (3g) – £20 at Bobbi Brown
'Everyday Great Skin' foundation (30ml)* – £6.75-£10.29 depending on shade (£30 typical price) Giorgio Armani 'Luminous Silk' foundation (30ml) – £35.20 at Armani Beauty
'One Powder Wonder' (8g)* – £6.81 (£26 typical price) NARS 'Light Reflecting' pressed setting powder (7g) – £30 at Boots & LookFantastic
Pomegranate and Baies rose luxury scented candle (240g)* – £18.80 (£50 typical price) Jo Malone 'Pomegranate Noir' candle (200g) – £46.55 at Allbeauty
Prices checked on Wed 3 Feb

As you can see, the Beauty Pie products are around 70% cheaper than the similar premium brand equivalent (but we found it around 60% cheaper after the membership and delivery costs). Also in many of the cases, you're actually get more of the product itself, too. Eg, Beauty Pie's 'The Unbeatable' concealer costs £5.17 for 4.2g, but the similar Benefit concealer costs £16.56 for only 3g. 

How do prices compare with membership and delivery costs factored in?

Now of course, you've got to factor in the cost of your monthly membership to make it a fair price comparison. The tables below show you some examples of what you could buy on each membership option and how much this could save you compared to if you were buying premium: 

Standard delivery costs £3.36 per order, so as you can see it works best if you’re buying multiple items together and not as one-offs. See more tips on getting it cheapest below.

I switched to Beauty Pie a year ago and have saved over £1,000

I’ve spent a fair bit of money on beauty products over the years, but after trialling and testing a few items, and swapping out products from my existing routine, I’ve decided that switching to Beauty Pie was the right MoneySaving decision for me.

Since I joined in December 2019, I've spent £423.98 at Beauty Pie on make-up, body, skin and haircare, including my monthly membership fee. If you average this out across the 15 months I’ve been a member, it works out at just over £28 a month – not an overly high price for a beauty lover. My Beauty Pie account tells me I’ve saved £1,072.90 through my purchases, compared to if I’d have bought similar items from luxury brands. I did the maths and that works out 72% cheaper. 

What do people say about it?

When I checked on Wed 3 Mar, Beauty Pie had a Trustpilot score of 4.6 out of five and 8,376 reviews. There are a few of us at MSE who've been using it for a while and love it, too. 

Though don't just take my word for it. Beauty editorial companies such as Vogue, Elle, and Cosmopolitan have all said good things about Beauty Pie – commenting on both the quality of the products and the price. Beauty Pie products have also won awards over the last three years, from Good Housekeeping 'Hall of Fame Awards 2019'Cosmopolitan 'Beauty Awards 2020', and Harpers Bazaar 'Best of the Best Beauty Awards 2020'.

I also turned to our skincare and makeup lovers on Twitter to hear what MoneySavers had to say about Beauty Pie:

Why is it cheaper?

Beauty Pie claims products are sourced from ‘leading labs’ around the world including Switzerland, Japan and South Korea, packaged and sold directly via Beauty Pie – by cutting out branded packaging, celebrity marketing and retailer mark-ups, it says it’s able to sell products at a lower price than if you were buying from a luxury brand. A win for the consumer!

  • How Beauty Pie explains its pricing

    Prices can fluctuate due to demand, supplier and shipping costs etc, so you may find your favourite beauty product is one price one month, and then it's gone up or down the next. This isn't normally by a huge amount, but it's worth remembering before you unknowingly add it back into your basket next time. Colours and shades of makeup can also vary, depending on demand.

    Beauty Pie gives each item on its site two prices: a ‘Member Price’ and a ‘Typical Price’.

    Member Price – the price for subscription-holders. Each individual product is given a price based on the cost of the actual product, packaging, any testing involved and warehouse costs.

    Typical Price – how much Beauty Pie claims says the item would cost if it was sold by a luxury brand (which would include factors such as marketing, celebrity endorsements, retailer mark-ups etc).

    When you go to purchase an item, Beauty Pie displays both prices. Eg, the ‘member price’ of the ‘Everyday Great Skin foundation’ in Beige is £6.75 and the ‘typical price’ is £30.

    You can shop on Beauty Pie without having a membership, but you’ll pay the ‘typical price’ – though this isn’t particularly MoneySaving. Beauty Pie says the ‘member price’ is usually around 80% cheaper than the typical price.

Be wary of how you spend – planning is key

As you’ve only got a certain allowance to spend each month, you’ll need to figure out if it’ll cover all the products you need, and what you can afford. You can buy top-ups, or increase your membership, but this will cost you more. It pays to spend a little time planning, so here are my top tips for getting it cheapest:

  • Make sure you check for a referral code before signing up. Beauty Pie almost always has some kind of referral offer or sign-up code, which usually gets you either ‘free’ items or a boosted spending limit.

Get one month 'free' with our code

We’ve a Blagged code for one month ‘free’ on its 3-month, £10 subscription, plus Beauty Pie will add a bonus £100 top-up to your spending limit. Simply enter the code MSESENTME at the checkout when you sign up.

Remember: When you take up this offer, you'll be automatically enrolled into a Beauty Pie subscription where £10 will be taken from you every month. You can cancel straight away but there's a three-month minimum on all Beauty Pie monthly subscriptions, so you’ll need to pay for the remaining two months. See how to cancel below.  

  • To cancel email customer.service@beautypie.com or call 0808 164 8264 (standard local call charges apply) and include your full name, email address associated with your account and your billing postcode.  

    Valid on monthly memberships only. Memberships auto-renew monthly on the date you signed up. One redemption per user. New members only. Cannot be used with any other promotion.

     

  • Start on a £10 or £20 membership, so you’ve a bigger starting pot. When you first join, it’s likely you’ll be wanting to buy a few bits. Start on a higher membership option (depending on how much you want to buy, and you can afford), so that you’ve got a big enough spending limit.
  • Once you’ve got what you need, drop your membership to a cheaper option. Once I’d bought the first few bits I needed, I lowered my membership fee to £5 a month and have let it sit there while it builds up. I then go back every couple of months to pick my products that need replacing or a nice 'once in a while' treat.
  • Try to do as few orders as possible. Delivery is £3.36 each time, so if you can try to wait until you need a few items before doing an order, to spend less on delivery.

Have you tried Beauty Pie before? Would you say it's value for money? Please share your thoughts and let us know in the comments below or tweet us @MSE_Deals.